IDAHO FALLS – What is 7 percent of 250?
What is 99 + 99 + 99?
Which is greater 17/18, 23/30 or 18/19?
Would you be able to answer these questions without going through a complicated process?
There are more than a few people out there who can’t. That’s why the Mathnasium, a new math learning center, is opening in Idaho Falls.
Jeff Barnard, the owner of Mathnasium, says the reason people struggle is because the way they were taught just didn’t make sense.
“It’s certainly not the teachers. Teachers do a fantastic job. But maybe the student was absent one day or maybe there was a concept he or she did not pick up on. So they end up with this hole (in their learning),” Barnard tells EastIdahoNews.com. “Then they move on and they lag behind and their confidence lags. They think I can’t do math. I’m terrible at math. That’s not really true.”
The purpose of Mathnasium, Barnard says, is to help students build a good base knowledge of math by showing them different ways to think of a problem and different ways of solving it.
“That’s the best part about what we do,” says Brenda Barnard, Jeff’s wife, who is the Mathnasium center director. “Going through all the training to open this center has been amazing. We’ve said over and over again ‘Where was this 40 years ago, 20 years ago or even 10 years ago for our kids?’
Mathnasium is a franchise with locations all over the nation. Bringing Mathnasium to eastern Idaho stemmed, in part, from their family upbringing. Jeff and Brenda both had family members who were good at math. While Jeff says he learned to love it, Brenda says she did not.
“I tease (myself) about the fact I am the person who said I would’ve done this or that in college but I didn’t want to take the math,” Brenda says. “No one should ever feel like they’re too dumb to do math.”
“I just kept thinking of my grandfather (who was really good at math) and thought People need this,” Jeff says. “We felt this would be a great thing to bring to the city of Idaho Falls to mesh with what teachers are already doing in school and bring a little more understanding for the kids.”
Mathnasium, just like a gymnasium, is membership-based. Students and their parents meet with a Mathnasium staff member for an initial assessment to determine where they struggle and a personalized learning plan. Moving forward, the student will meet with tutors two to three times a week.
“We don’t just assign them to a tutor. We assign them to a team of tutors,” Jeff Barnard says. “One thing we’ve seen is that kids who are taught by just one tutor never gain the confidence they need because they become dependent on the tutor they’ve always had.”
Brenda says students who sign up with Mathnasium will learn in a positive and fun environment.
“We have a reward system. We have prizes they can earn. It’s an encouraging and happy atmosphere. There’s a lot of fist bumps and high fives going on.”
Memberships are $259/month and are available to students K-12. Mathnasium will open August 15 at 3670 S 25th E Suite #1. Their hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We really feel like the Mathnasium methodology is a win for the whole community–students, parents, teachers and administrators. We feel like it can be a good mesh,” Jeff says.